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  1. Pros of OSU: - More faculty working on AI and RL. aka more potential advisors who want to do research I want to do. Pros of Duke: - Prestige (not more highly ranked in AI, but no one would know that) Any thoughts?
  2. I am just wondering what would be the correct approach to changing a Ph.D. advisor. A caveat here, my current Ph.D. advisor funds everything including my tuition and all. So, how do I talk to my current advisor, and how do I approach a prospective advisor? I'd love to hear some experiences of people who have actually done this. Thak you!
  3. I'm currently in my first year in a Ph.D. program coming in straight from my B.A. I came to work with a professor who is currently untenured, but most likely receiving tenure in the next few months. My first semester with them was okay—mostly because I met with them often because they were the instructor of one of my courses. Now in the spring, I've hardly seen them. They seem to always be busy, juggling many tasks and taking on new roles (and new student advisees for next Fall). I understand that graduate study is meant to train us to be independent scholars, but I've been left with many unresolved questions about many expectations (e.g. funding applications, foreign language acquisition, conferences & publications, thesis work, committee formation, etc) that this Ph.D. program has for me. Maybe I wouldn't have some of the questions I have if I had entered with an M.A., but I still feel very confused about a lot of the logistics of graduate study. Another second-year student who is also their advisee told me that he also has not gotten into much contact with our advisor—and has yet to update them on his changing research interests. The other day, a friend and I ran into my advisor. What shocked me was that when I waved at the professor, they didn't seem to notice me. And when my advisor approached us, they spoke only to my friend about how busy they were, hence why they supposedly hadn't answered my friend's email to set up an appointment for them. Since my advisor's up for tenure and have a multiple responsibilities, I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and think that maybe they had too much on their mind. What has really made things harder is that my research interests have been shifting dramatically, as I've mentioned. This is mostly due to realizing that my research questions have already been answered by some of the literature in my field that I was previously unfamiliar with. Without revealing too much, I am an Area Studies scholar, and essentially my research interests are shifting from one country of study to another. There also happen to be no professors in our department that deal with the new region I am interested in researching. Since I only have a B.A., I'm leaving the option of "mastering out"—leaving the program with only an M.A. and continuing my Ph.D. work in another—open for consideration. However, I realize that this decision might upset my professors, since they invested time, money, and energy into me as an asset for their program, and they're most likely expecting larger returns than only an M.A. I'm not sure whether it's worth sticking with a region that a professor in my department might be able to work with for the sake of having a less unstable graduate school journey... or whether I should consider transferring Ph.D. programs to have a scholar with more specialized knowledge on my country of interest. Have any of you had success is transferring Ph.D. programs like this? Do you think that the situation I've described with my advisor is worth having anxiety over, or is their behavior normal for most graduate advisors?
  4. I am entering my second year of my M.Ed. and working with a supervisor who, up until recently, has been very supportive. Due to individual personal issues that happened to each of us this winter & spring, I have made little progress on my thesis. While my personal issue has been resolved, my supervisor's issue continues and they remain largely unavailable for support. Since I am now running out of time, I have had to change my project completely to one that is "easier" and more "doable." While I don't mind this—and, in fact, am appreciative that I still have the ability to complete a project within my area—it has definitely made me wary about my future, given that I intend to apply to continue in this program for my Ph.D. I have a dissertation project in mind that several other professors have deemed interesting and important, and one professor identified its potential to grow quite large (AKA could become a large-scale project and specialty if I continue in academia and research beyond my doctoral program). However, I would want to have the support of my supervisor to encourage me to pursue this project, rather than abandon it for an "easier" project, and lately, their attitude has been quite dismissive. They seem to have lost confidence in me because of this delay, despite also being partly responsible for delaying the project. My current supervisor is both (a) dealing with ongoing personal issues that interfere with their supervisory duties, and (b) essentially the only viable supervisory match for my Ph.D. Due to our previously strong and supportive relationship, it has kind of always been assumed that, if admitted, I will continue my Ph.D. with them. No one else in my department, or even an adjunct department, specializes in or has much experience at all in my area. However, given the events of the last few months and my supervisor's uncertain future, I want to ensure I can be successful by applying to my program with a co-supervisor already indicated. Fortunately, I have done some RA work for a professor who has a lot of experience with a method I am interested in. I approached them and explained my desire to work with them based on their expertise in a method that is less familiar to me and my current supervisor, and they have indicated they are willing to co-supervise my Ph.D. I now need to tackle the difficult task of approaching my current supervisor and explaining why I feel the need to introduce another professor to my supervisory team. TL;DR: My supervisor assumes I will apply to work with them for my Ph.D., but they are going through some serious personal issues and our working relationship has been affected. How can I explain to my current supervisor my desire to apply to my Ph.D. with a co-supervisor when the other professor is not in my field (like, studies-a-completely-opposite-population kind of field), especially since I sought them out less for their expertise and more to ensure I have the support of someone with more stability? And how can I phrase it to minimize any hurt feelings on the part of my current supervisor, who is someone that tends to take things very personally?
  5. I'm coming to the end of my first year as a PhD student and I feel like I'm doing a bad job at research and school. I've felt behind my peers from the get-go, at least partly because I made a major field switch between my undergrad and graduate program. I'll explain my coursework troubles and research concerns separately. Coursework: I'm taking 3 classes this semester, which I realize is a lot. I have the same professor for two of the classes. After taking our last exam of the semester, this professor released a list of our names and ranks in his classes. I'm doing slightly below average even though it's my field of study. I received As on all the homeworks and Bs on the final exams. I know my grades are good, but now I feel like I'm underperforming and not cut out for a PhD. Research: I'm on an RA-ship this semester and getting almost no direction on the project I'm working on. As I mentioned before, I am completely new to this field of study. I don't feel that I know enough to be in charge of arranging and executing all of our measurements, but that is what I'm tasked with. I have weekly meetings with my advisor, and I know I should be grateful to at least have that. I prepare extensively beforehand, usually writing out a list of questions I have and putting together figures to explain what I did that week, but our meetings are never productive. He never seems to be listening to me and sometimes even plays guitar or grinds coffee beans while I'm speaking. I find it so incredibly rude and I leave the meetings feeling defeated and like I don't even know enough to be asking the right questions. I'm really shy, I take anxiety meds before our meetings to help me speak up, but even when I go in feeling confident I leave feeling like an idiot. Since I feel like I'm not making enough progress, I've resorted to ending the meetings by asking "Is there anything you think I should do this week?" I didn't think there was anything wrong with asking that until last week when we hosted a potential PhD recruit and my advisor mentioned that the screening exam was "to weed out grad students who need hand holding and weekly tasks to get any work done." I'm probably overthinking it, but it seemed like a slight at me. I realize some of this might be from self confidence issues I struggle with. I feel like I'm off to a bad start and I don't know what to do from here. Do I power through and pretend nothing's wrong? Do I drop out because I'm not cut out for it? I don't want to talk to my cohorts about it because my advisor is a very likeable guy and everyone seems to love him. It just feels like I'm behind the curve and not doing anything right.
  6. I recently applied for a research based degree and I have indeed been offered admission (with funding), scheduled to start this fall. Prior to my acceptance, I had an interview with my prospective advisor and we both seemed to have similar interests, so they recommended me for admission. Most of the funding is indeed coming from the supervisor rather than the department. The supervisor is a newly-hired assistant professor, just starting out and building up the group from scratch, so I didn't really have much information regarding the available projects and research directions they intend to pursue other than a short summary. We discussed a possible proposed project and even potential collaborations with other groups in the department (one of the potential collaborators was also present during the interview). I was definitely happy with the project and was looking forward to working on it, but I wouldn't say that it was perfectly 100% aligned with what I had hoped to work on. I accepted the offer and that was that. The offer letter mentions that I will be under the supervision of this professor, so that seems set in stone (no complaints so far). Recently, this professor launched a website for the new group (came across it by chance), complete with a detailed list of all the projects they want to pursue and is still actively recruiting. On reading more about these projects, there is one in particular which I would be very excited to work on (significantly more than my 'proposed' project). My question is, would it be OK to contact this professor now and to perhaps intimate to them or suggest that I would prefer to work on one of the other projects listed? Or to maybe influence the direction of my proposed project? I am hesitant because I don't want to come across as indecisive and scatterbrained, and I do understand that the professor might be recruiting certain students with certain skills to work on specific projects, so I do get why my this request might upset the professor. I don't want them to feel that I conned them into accepting me on a false premise. At the same time, I would really rather work on this other project and would like to signal this to them as early as possible, before it is 'taken' by another student. Should I initiate this discussion now? Or should I maybe wait till I arrive in the fall? Is it even too premature to be worrying about such things? Am I over-thinking this perhaps? Would appreciate any input. Thanks.
  7. How is the application reviewed in the interview phase of EECS MS/PhD at UC Berkeley? If interviewed and accepted into the program, would the interviewer (by default) be the PhD supervisor? Or, is the student first accepted into the program and needs to find a research supervisor later? If the students are first accepted into the program and not by a specific advisor, how would funding be handled?
  8. Hi everybody! This is my first time posting to this forum so I hope I'm doing this correctly. I am about to begin studying for my PhD Qualifying Exams in Art History, and I am trying to get a sense of the average number of books Art History students read for exams in other graduate programs. The professors in my department have ZERO consistency amongst each other when assigning book lists. Lists range anywhere from 50 to 300 books, with 4 month reading period. When the graduate students tried to address this discrepancy in a meeting with our Director of Graduate Studies, we were told "This is how it's always been done," and "Exams are supposed to drive you crazy." The general lack of respect for mental health in my department is an issue for another day. Unfortunately, my advisor is on the higher end of the spectrum, and my current major list is about 250 books long. I am majoring in Italian baroque art, and she has asked me to read literature spanning between 1400-1800, in addition to literature on France and Spain. She doesn't expect me to read every book in detail, and instead wants me to understand how each book has contributed to the field. This is what she was asked to do as a student at Columbia in the 90s, and insists that this is the best way to proceed. Naturally, I am a bit overwhelmed about all of this, and I could really use some perspective on how other art history departments structure exams. Any advice on how to study this much material in 4 months would also be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
  9. Next week, I have to interview faculty interested in serving as either an advisor or second reader to my thesis (MA English Lit. btw). (1) What questions should I ask them to ensure that we will work well together? (2) What other advice do you have for this process? Thanks
  10. Some people say that your mentor is EVERYTHING in grad school. How important is it to stick with a big, influential name who knows and wants me, in a really bad department/school, when he seems to have some control issues that could impact our working relationship over the next 4 years? Here is the TL;DR version for those who get frustrated by the tons of text that follow : Program A: Great metro area; low program ranking; my advisor is the big kahuna in the department and field but he has some troubling personality quirks; he's the only faculty member to work with in my dept.; I'm already set up/would not have to move; I'm already well known and respected in the department; students tend to leave with very publications; my mentor has put his name on the line for me here and would take it personally if I leave. Program B: Excellent reputation and curriculum; very high ranking; many faculty to work with an opportunity for collaboration; no one-perfect-faculty-member-fit for me; strong methods training; would have to move and create new relationships with faculty and prove my reliability; somewhat geographically isolated but 3-hour drive to major cities; strong department culture of cohesiveness; attending would burn bridges with my current mentor. *** I'm in my last semester of a master's program in a field at a poorly-ranked program, but with an advisor who is an influential name and who knows everybody, everywhere. (Why is such an important person at a crappy school? We're in DC, and he likes living here so that he can skip down to Capitol Hill to testify or to sit with the policymakers and come up with solutions - when they actually do that stuff.) I came to this school specifically so I could work with him, even though he doesn't normally work with masters students. I emailed him relentlessly before and after I was admitted, and then campaigned to be let into one of his theory-based PhD-level courses in order to prove myself to him. It worked; we are now co-authors on a forthcoming paper, and he is the one who told me to apply for a PhD. He was so adamant that I do so that he put himself on our admissions committee to "ensure" that I was accepted to our doctoral program. He is my biggest advocate. This person comes with a very particular set of difficult personal characteristics, however. As a family man, he seems unable to avoid giving into his paternal instinct with his mentees (all of whom are female). He gives unsolicited advice on our personal lives and situations, gets angry with us when we do not take his advice, and then does not seem to understand why we get upset with him. As someone with a brilliant mind and ivy pedigree, I also think he is just accustomed to being the smartest person in a room, and he really does think he know what's in our best interest better than we do. Although I believe it comes from a good place, the end result is a peculiar kind of toxicity: I admire him, but I am 'afraid' of him in that I know better than to cross him, and I am reluctant to pitch my research ideas because so few are 'good enough' for him to support. I got into my home institution, of course, but I have another offer that is at an objectively better institution (he didn't want to write me a LoR, but eventually did. Whole other story). If I take my current advisor out of the equation, I pick the other school in a heart-beat. But given this person's reputation, prestige within our field, nearly identical interests to mine, and the fact that he has personally invested so much in me so far - I'm reluctant to leave him. This week I told him I was leaning toward leaving, and we spent an hour arguing, as he was certain I would be "making a huge mistake" if I leave. He said he would take me off all of our current projects if I do go, and he said, "I feel like I'm giving you the keys to a Ferrari, and you just want to go drive a Mercedes ." Funding is basically the same at both schools, but there is a big difference in the cost of living in DC vs. NY state. Here is some information about these two programs. Program A: At my current school, in DC. It has a fairly low ranking (21/32). My mentor's pros/cons I detailed above. The department is poorly organized, no one in it likes each other, and only 2-3 people actively publish (there are a TON of coasters). The doctoral students report no sense of community within cohorts or within the department, and several have complained of a kind of boys club mentality (no tenured women faculty, the rare male student is empowered and the female students are discouraged from doing innovative work). There are 3 academic tracks, and mine is the smallest and most devalued. In fact, my mentor is the only professor that teaches in it. That means that he is the only person with whom I could collaborate, and the only one to have on my comp and dissertation committees. The department doesn't permit us to invite people from outside institutions, or even from other departments within the school. When I have requested they hire more faculty for my track, they say it might be possible in 2-3 years. We have notoriously poor methods training. We are located in DC, however, so that opens up certain professional opportunities, and means that we can meet many of the fancy speakers who come to the school. Doctoral students generally graduate with only 1-2 publications, usually co-authored with faculty or another student, and they have been described to me as "solo missions" without much/any support from the department. Graduates who work with MY advisor are generally well-placed into academic positions; however, the other grads tend to go into government, non-profits, or else I have no idea where. Program B: Located in upstate NY; no national name recognition (school itself is considered middling overall, but my program is their star jewel.) It has a high ranking (consistently 2/32). Out of the faculty of 16, there are 10 who share overlapping interests with me. No one person is a perfect "fit", but, the department is very big on the whole "it takes a department to raise a PhD student." You don't work on your advisor's work so much as that person guides you to figure out the logisitics of projects YOU want to lead, and then gives you advice on how to accomplish it. It's a highly collaborative department - everyone works with one another: faculty-faculty, faculty-student, student-student. There is a strong culture of inclusiveness, very high productivity, and teamwork. Everyone publishes constantly, and the school houses two of the top journals in our field. The faculty is 1/3 women, most of whom are tenured. Students tend to graduate with anywhere from 4-10 publications, depending on how hard they push themselves. Graduates are generally well-placed. There are also unsubstantiated whisperings that there were sexual harrassment issues in the past. When I have asked their current female students directly, though, they claim to know nothing about it. It could be just a rumor, or it could be something that happened years ago and was dealt with. My main reason for wanting to go there - aside from the strong sense of community they create - is their incredible methods program. They are very strong in quant, and invest in making sure that their grads are, too. They also offer other types of research methodology training. I believe I would emerge from their program a much stronger researcher, overall. As my current mentor points out, though, I would be starting from zero there and would have to "prove myself" to the faculty all over again. It's also upstate NY, which means lots of cold and snow, but also, the Adirondacks, and proximity to other lovely places like Vermont, Boston, NYC, Montreal, etc. There is the issue of the frigid cold and snow, but I'm originally from Chicago, and I could tough it out again. Cost of living is very decent there, though, and I could comfortably live alone on the stipend - whereas in DC, I would likely continue living in a group house situation (which I am loathe to do). Most significantly, for me, going to Program B would likely mean that my mentor would cut off any possibilities of future collaboration between us, and I'd be severed from our current projects. It would feel like a great personal blow to lose him. For all of his faults (and everyone has some), I like him personally, and I wouldn't have come this far without his encouragement and mentorship. I don't want him to feel that he invested all of this in me for no personal ROI. *** I'm trying to talk to him again this week to see if he would walk back this whole 'punishment' thing (my word, based on how it feels). He did send me a note of apology after our uncomfortable talk, so I think we may be on the verge of negotiating a detente. However, there is only one week left to decide, so... figuring this out needs to happen ASAP! Thanks for any feedback/ideas!
  11. Hi all! I'm [supposedly] at the end of my studies, but I've had what I feel is an awful advisor/student experience and I’m concerned it’ll prevent me from finishing. I’m currently finishing writing up my dissertation. The majority of it is written, I completed my last science (work) chapter earlier this week and am now working on my introductory and concluding chapters. Short version: Problem: I haven’t gotten meaningful feedback on the last 60% of my research work and it stresses me out! Put short, my thesis is three mini-projects, with the last 2 being spin-offs from the first that was actually published. I submitted the work for my 2nd project last September (as a thesis chapter) and the work for my 3rd project last February. My main feedback, concerned the number of citations, formatting of the paper and introduction. Is this normal? I ask for feedback all.the.time regarding my research and I just don’t get any. I have no clue if my analysis is sound, techniques are good, just nothing. We actually had a group meeting, two of is other students presented on their research about 10minutes (They do get regular meetings and feedback). When it was time for me to go, It didn’t go so well. He asked me to present on a paper I found a week earlier, so I started with that before my research. Well….it was a 25 minute tangent lead by my advisor on why the people in the paper are wrong. I didn’t get to present on my work because they all had to go. It was really frustrating. On top of that, I can’t even manage a meeting with my advisor at best, maybe once every two weeks, because he is “to busy” (but he wants me to be in my office all day Monday-Friday, it’s crazy). It really has me worried. Any advice? He also does not want me to confide (or ask advice) from any of the other faculty concerning what is going on. I remember once, I was talking with the faculty head in the hallway (my advisor was running late for one of our meetings). While we were talking, I spotted my advisor standing awkwardly nearby, before he interrupted our conversation (rather abruptly) and sent me to his office while they talked. What do I do!? I literally feel helpless at this point.
  12. Dear all, I've been offered admission by two universities (UCSD and UVa). I am currently weighing these two wonderful options, and I’m considering a lot of factors including prospective advisors and mentors, academic culture, university resources, graduate placement, funding, and location. I know that the most important of these is my future supervisor. Now, if all other things were equal, I'd be left with what seems to be a Manichaean dilemma. My recruiter/prospective supervisor at UCSD has been simply great. Besides the fact that my research seems to be perfectly aligned with their* work, the current students at UCSD with whom I've had the chance to talk have had nothing but superlative praise for this particular professor. My prospective supervisor already has plans for me--for example, they're already including me in a panel session that they're preparing for the AAAs in San Jose this year. That being said, the said professor is young and is a very new hire in the department. I believe this is their first job post-PhD, and I also think I might be the first PhD student they will supervise. I can't help but worry about the possibility that my prospective supervisor might eventually want to move to another university before I finish my PhD there. The work of the other professors in the department isn't as aligned with my research interests, although I'm sure one of them would be able to supervise me if I were to stay there. My prospective supervisor and I are going to have another Skype session soon. What should I ask? My situation at UVa is quite different. While I'm not aware of any specific professor at UVa who really wants to get me in the program, I think there are more members in the faculty (than at UCSD) who can supervise me. One of them is a very famous scholar in the subfield of anthropology that I identify with, and I would definitely love to work with them. Current students there have told me that this professor seems like a likely supervisor for me. However, I know that because they are older and more popular, they are definitely busier and in greater demand. I am afraid that I might not get as much attention and support from them because of this and that this would somehow hurt not only my PhD but also my professional career. What do you think? Both universities and both professors are really, really great, and I am having such a difficult time deciding. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts! If anyone is interested in specific details, I would be happy to provide them in a PM. If you know anything specific about these two departments, please PM me, too! Looking forward to hearing from you! * I'm using the gender-neutral singular pronouns they and them.
  13. I am a third year PhD candidate in the sciences, funded as a TA. By many measures, I am doing well in graduate school (publishing, 4.0 GPA, receiving grants and awards, and will graduate on time). However, my advisor has been rude to me since I started graduate school (ex. Saying that I have a bitch face, providing feedback for grants like "I wouldn't fund you.", making condescending comments in manuscript drafts that either directly or indirectly say that I am stupid, telling me that American women are stupid and prostitutes, etc.). His words and actions have made me feel nauseated about staying in academia, especially as he is trying to find funding for me to stay on as a postdoc in our lab. At this point, I just want out of this community and would like to leave this experience in the past after graduation. He did not follow university regulations during my comprehensive exams, which resulted in my exams being more extensive than is normally allowed by my department. I passed, but my department head had to get involved to let my advisor know that his actions were not okay. I am now getting nervous that he'll try to pull something similar during my defense and dissertation writing. Is there anyway I can protect myself from (1) his habit of rude behavior and (2) his desire to buck the rules during my defense? My first few years, I thought this was just hazing, but as the meanness continues, I think it may be something more chronic...
  14. Hi everyone, I am trying to minimize the chance of ending up with a bad advisor. I am applying to colleges in England - Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Imperial College, Kings College, etc - for a PhD program in Computer Science. I have heard UCL allows one to change the advisor after getting admits with funding from CS department. Do you which other departments in England (they can even be different from the one I mentioned) allow you to change your advisor? Thanks! Gan
  15. Hello! I am looking to apply to PhD programs in Religion or History, but preferably religion if the university offers a religion program. I am trying to find potential supervisors for a Phd focusing on the English Reformation. My research broadly focuses on the English Reformation and the intermixing between the role of the state and populace in the matters of religion. I also do a lot with the Book of Common Prayer and the transformation of liturgy. Unless an extraordinary circumstance happens, PhDs outside of the US offer very limited and very hard to obtain funding. So for that reason I am trying to stay within the US. The professors and universities i have at the moment are: Peter Lake - Vanderbilt J Patrick Hornbeck - Fordham Ethan Shagan - UC Berkeley People I am unsure about due to vague biographies on the university website. Linda Pollock - Tulane. Focuses on religion but a greater emphasis on family. Lee Palmer Windel - Wisconsin- Madison Euan Cameron - Columbia Thank you for your help and suggestions!
  16. Hey all I am drafting email to send to my potential advisor . What to include ? what not to include ? I know I should read their previous papers , how many of their papers should I read ? I heard it was like 12 -20 papers , is it true ? I feel like it is a lot of work (considering the fact that I will be emailing about 10 professors so 20*10 = 200 papers that's almost a masters thesis ) one more thing, how many advisors should I email? 10 ? 20 ? Any tips is appreciated
  17. For any current or former EAPSI applicants, how did you word the initial contact with prospective host researchers? I can't decide which of the following options is more appropriate and likely to be well-received: "I propose to research XYZ using methods XYZ. Would you be willing to host me and fund the proposed research?" "My general interests are XYZ. Do you have any ongoing projects in this research area that I could participate in during summer 2017?" I feel like Option 2 is more polite, but Option 1 conveys a "go-getter" perspective that could be desirable in certain circumstances. Unfortunately, my field of study/research methodology (field-based environmental science) requires costly equipment and support personnel that would not be covered by EAPSI funding, so asking the host to provide these (boldface in Option 1) is an elephant in the room that cannot be ignored. Does anyone have an opinion and/or insight into how you handled this when you were applying? Thanks in advance!
  18. Does anybody have a dissertation proposal story to share? Anything related to deadlines that got missed because no one told you what the deadline was, communicating with multiple faculty, some who rarely respond to emails, departments that don't communicate the rules but expect them to be followed, etc. Also, advice on how to deal with difficulties like these tactfully without sounding snarky or blame-y (sometimes I feel like writing, "I sent you an email about this two weeks ago") would be great! Most of the faculty are great, but I am just not catching on to the styles of others. Thanks!
  19. I'm nearing my last semester of my two year Master's program (anthropology) and I feel like I've barely learned enough to scape by in my field, never mind apply to PhD programs. Unfortunately(/fortunately) I know I am not alone in this feeling, as two other students in my cohort feel the same way and share many of the same frustrations. My advisor is very respected and connected in my field and is available for occasional meetings, however, he offers very, very little direction or concrete guidance, and has actually said to another MA student regarding their thesis to "just get it done," strongly implying to that person not to worry too much about how good it is. This advisor is retiring soon and it is painfully obvious that he has already checked out on the MA students, while most of his PhD students are already 4-5 years into their programs and know what they are doing. I know this from talking to others in the lab and the department. I also have heard from multiple people that this advisor does not actually READ term papers and have been plainly told that it doesn't matter what we write in them because "you'll just get an A." I am happy about getting As, but I'm concerned about the almost total lack of critical feedback that I've come to learn is the department norm. Aside from gripes about the program, my main issue right now is coming up with and executing a worthwhile thesis project with little-to-no guidance for someone who pretty plainly has stated that he just wants it done while I already feel under-confident in my abilities as a student. I really respect my advisor (and hope I've managed to maintain enough anonymity here) and I understand that he has many obligations, but I feel lost and I have pretty much given up on expecting any more guidance. I have been reading as many articles and MA theses as I can in my proposed research area and beyond and I am learning a lot, but I'm struggling with how I can apply what I learn to come up with and do a project on my own. I don't know how to gauge what scope is appropriate, what the limits and possibilities are for resources within and outside the lab, or how to design a project and a thesis proposal. While I don't currently have the confidence that I can come up with something potentially publishable, I really want to produce something that I will at least be comfortable showing my peers or possibly using down the line if I want to apply to PhD programs. I should mention that I'm beyond the point where switching focus or advisors is a possibility and I actually think my advisor is the best option in our department anyway. I feel dissatisfied with my MA experience as a whole and desperately want more training and education, but I also don't feel like I am at all prepared for a PhD program right now and I know my feelings of inadequacy are holding me back. Once I get past the thesis and graduating I intend to continue studying and getting practical experience outside of a formal program, but right now that seems so out of reach. I'm realizing how much I'm going to need to learn and teach myself and it feels daunting. I appreciate any advice or accounts of similar experiences.
  20. Hello Everyone, This is a follow up/ part 2 to an earlier question that I have posted: http://forum.thegradcafe.com/topic/85886-advice-on-contacting-potential-phd-advisors/#comment-1058425898 If you want to read it for some context that may help you answer my questions but I'll give you the brief summary. I have applied to a PhD program at Georgia State. After already applying one of the professors in the program replied to an email and told me that next time I should try and contact a professor in the program for potential advisement. So I actually winded up meeting with that professor right before thanksgiving and we discussed why I wanted to be in the program and just the program in general. I asked whether or not there was potential for him to advise me for my PhD. He told me something along the lines of "There is potential but funding may be an issue" which he proceeded to tell me about other opportunities such as teaching assistantships. Then he took me around to show me the labs, introduced me to some other professors and talked about some of the work he did. So in the first meeting I really didn't get the hard "Yes" answer I was looking for as far as him being my advisor is concerned. It seemed like more of a "maybe so." After a little I have now been able to set up a second meeting with him next week. I suppose this is a good sign but what things should I be asking him in particular? Also what would be the best way to ask if he would approve my application and be my advisor? Any advise would really help. Thank you
  21. Hi everyone I started my masters and my advisor is a young assistant professor. When I contacted her to before application, she said that she had a project while when I came here (another country), she said that we have to find a topic. The problem is she is new to the field and does not help me at all. She expects me to go and find a topic myself. I tried to have meetings at first regularly, but after a couple of meeting that I noticed she does not give a me helpful feedback I stopped. It has been a more than a month now that I havent talked to her. Today I prepared a table of previous studies and wanted her to take a look at it and then we can have a meeting next day, yet she refused to read it and told me to find a hypothesis and write about it and show her the results. Guys, I am not sure that if I am a lazy student, or she really does not do her job as an advisor... Please help me to figure this out.
  22. I'm in my third year of my PhD in English working on my oral lists right now. Unfortunately, my advisor and I are not getting along. She doesn't think my work is up to par, and made it clear that if I don't "learn how to write better" that she worries I will not be ready to move on to the dissertation stage (I have taken this to mean that she thinks I should drop out if I can't prove I'm good enough). She told me this in June. This semester I've been working on a paper to prove to her that I belong here. I'm in a publication workshop led by our department chair, and we've been workshopping this paper all semester. I expressed my concerns about my advisor and my writing to the department chair, and she reassured me that she thinks my writing is on track and that it is PhD level work. Today I met with my advisor after she finally read a full draft of my paper. She hated the paper. She doesn't think that it's where it needs to be. It's hard to tell all the details without talking about the paper, but she basically thinks that it needs a lot of work. And, that's okay with me. I'm okay with getting criticism. What I'm not okay with is the way in which she delivers it--she treats me like I'm dumb. It's almost as if I'm offending her with my bad writing. During our conversation she asked me why I was in grad school and I gave several reasons. She followed up by saying that I should reconsider being in grad school, especially with the job market. She also told me that perhaps her and I are just not on the same page and that perhaps I would work better with someone else. I'm smart enough to know that being told that I should consider dropping out and having an advisor suggest different committee members is pretty much the worse news someone can get in grad school. Clearly I'm doing something wrong. I'm willing to face that. What keeps me going is that other professors like my work. The only issue is that they're not in my direct field of study so I would have to change my focus. I'm willing at this point to do that because I want to finish the degree. I'm sending the same paper I gave to my advisor to two other people to see what they think, and that will largely be my determining factor for staying. At any rate, I guess I'm just curious if this is common--could it just be that my advisor has a different standard and we're just not seeing eye to eye? Or should I drop out like she says? At this point obviously I can't work with this advisor anymore. It's sad because I have to shift my area of study. Oh well. I don't want to be naive or defiant. I don't want to go against my advisor simply because I am invested and am emotional...I just need to get advice from someone outside of my department. Any help would be appreciated.
  23. So I made an error in my email to a potential advisor when expressing my interest in her lab. I bymistake wrote the wrong lab name. This was 7 days back, and she hasn't replied. Will this affect my chances of admission? Is there anyway I can rectify this?
  24. I'm currently in my second year PhD at Stanford. My advisor took a position at UCLA (and with that, an endowed professorship as well). I am a bit torn as to whether I should leave and follow him to UCLA, which would require me transferring out of my program and my PhD would come from UCLA. The benefit I see from this would be an increase in money to spend on research, and a chance to build a lab from ground zero and really be a driving factor in the direction of the lab. Plus, he's a great advisor. My other option is to remain at Stanford, pick a new advisor and move in a new direction. Benefits to staying at Stanford, well, I love the people I met here and am building a network of people (with the alumni as well) that can potentially help me post-grad. Wanted to field some thoughts from the community on what I should do. Willing to answer some questions as well if it helps with advice giving.
  25. My advisor assigned me a project using a statistical method I don't think he fully understood. It's new, one he hasn't used before, and it is in a dense, poorly written article. I have expressed to him that I felt we didn't understand it well enough, that we should consider collaborating with others to make sure the method was tenable, and that I felt it might not work. However, he blew these concerns off. When the initial results looked promising, I let it go. A few months later, my latest results look weird as hell. I reread the article for hundredth time to see if we had missed something. I think I found it. I have good reason to believe that our data violate a key assumption of the method (not described by the authors!) and that our results are complete garbage. The problem is that I am signed up to present these results as a poster in a few months time at a conference to which I have already been accepted and funded to attend. I don't know how I can back out with my plane and hotel already bought by the department. What do I do? Keep mum? It's wrong and I'm worried someone will find me out anyway. I have emailed my advisor, but he is on vacation and hasn't responded yet. Please proceed from the assumption that I am correct. I don't need to troubelshoot a scenario where everything is A OK. I need to troubleshoot the potentially terrible mistake I have made. Even though everyone in the field knows that beginning students don't design these projects, my head is on the chopping block; I am ultimately responsible for the research I put my name on. Knowing what I know now, I won't let it get to the publishing phase before the issues I identified are resolved, but what do I do about the conference?
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